L-Glutamine: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects (2021)

Elite HRT

Written by Elite HRT on October 07, 2021

Medically reviewed by

Camille Frecking, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, MEDICAL ADVISOR

Finding a new nutraceutical that fits into your life can be difficult. With so many to choose from it can be hard to determine what will work best for you. 

Keep reading to learn more about L-glutamine, its benefits, uses, and more. 

What Is L-Glutamine?

Amino acids are an important structure in the body that act as a building block of protein. Each amino acid can play a different role in a protein and give it a completely different structure and function. 

L-glutamine is an example of an amino acid that works in the body in several ways. 

One of the most notable ways that it works is by supporting the muscles to maintain their structure and prevent them from breaking down through stimulating protein synthesis. 

A breakdown of muscle can occur for several reasons, including a lack of exercise, a decrease in hormones such as growth hormone or testosterone, disease, and more. L-glutamine may help to counteract this breakdown and encourage the muscle to become stronger and long-lasting.

L-glutamine also contributes to the body by supporting the production of human growth hormone. Growth hormone is another hormone that is important for maintaining body tissues, so these two can work together to support the muscles. 

While L-glutamine can be found naturally in foods like beets, beans, or certain animal proteins like chicken and dairy products, L-glutamine supplementation has a myriad of health benefits. 

L-glutamine is actually a nutraceutical that can be used in a comprehensive approach to growth hormone replacement therapy. 

How Can You Use L-Glutamine?

L-glutamine is a very versatile amino acid and can be used therapeutically in several different ways. The three main ways that L-glutamine is used include supporting fitness goals, weight loss goals, and a healthy hormone balance.  

For Fitness Goals

With L-glutamine’s role in supporting muscle maintenance, it is no wonder that it can efficiently support fitness goals. 

With your workouts that are heavily focused on muscle building, it can sometimes feel difficult to go back the next day and try again. These lapses can sometimes lead to “falling off the wagon” and prevent you from reaching your goals. 

L-glutamine may help to support your recovery between workouts by supporting muscle repair. Essentially what is happening when you work out is muscle fibers are slowly breaking and then are repaired to result in a stronger, larger muscle. 

L-glutamine helps to support this process so recovery and repair may happen faster, so you can reap the benefits and stack your workouts to more quickly reach your fitness goals. 

For Weight Loss Goals

In addition to supporting your fitness goals, L-glutamine may also support your weight loss goals as well. 

L-glutamine plays a role in the metabolism of the cells which helps to produce energy in the body. This metabolism boost can help weight loss in multiple ways. The first is by supporting the burning of calories in the body to produce energy and the other is by boosting your energy which can support your ability to work out and exercise. 

One of the biggest excuses about why people don’t exercise is because they are too tired to do so. L-glutamine may be able to counteract this so that you can work harder to reach your weight loss goals. 

Sometimes a little energy is all you need to get yourself moving and working toward your goals. 

For Healthy Hormone Balance

A healthy hormone balance can sometimes make or break someone’s quality of life. There are over 200 hormones and hormone-like substances that exist and work in the body in harmony to create homeostasis. When even one of these hormones is out of the normal range it can have a severe impact on regular body functioning. 

Growth hormone is a heavy hitter when it comes to being out of balance since it maintains body tissues, impacts sleep, sex drive, and more. 

Luckily for those with a growth hormone deficiency, there are hormone replacement therapies and complementary treatments to help bring them back into balance. 

L-glutamine can encourage the body to produce its endogenous growth hormones. By doing so it may help to bring your growth hormone levels to an in-range level and support a healthy hormone balance overall. 

What Are the Benefits of L-Glutamine?

The common uses of L-glutamine include for fitness, weight loss, and healthy hormones, but there are also additional benefits that come with its use as well. 

Protecting the body from breakdown and injury may also be a positive attribute of L-glutamine not yet discussed. 

Protect the Body From Breakdown

With low levels of L-glutamine the body may have a hard time keeping the muscles from breaking down. As you age with a potential decline in protective factors like elastin, growth hormone, and L-glutamine it may become more and more common to have the muscles decrease in size. 

Since L-glutamine may boost growth hormone production and may help to prevent muscle breakdown, it may be a great preventive or supportive step to protecting your muscle’s integrity. In addition, exercise may help to boost muscle growth and energy which can build around your skeletal system and prevent injury.

Protect the Body From Injury

Accidental injuries are the highest when you are a child and when you get older. These are times that the body is not at its strongest and muscles and bones may not be fully developed. 

Because of L-glutamine’s ability to support muscle development and recovery it may create a strong, protective musculoskeletal system. Having strong muscles to support the bones and joints can be the difference between an injury and a minor slip and fall. 

Taking the necessary steps to prevent injury such as stretching, eating a healthy diet that includes enough protein, and taking supporting supplements are all very important to taking charge of your own health. 

What Are the Common Side Effects of L-Glutamine?

L-glutamine is an amino acid that your body is used to seeing around. However, L-glutamine as an injection can have some side effects associated with it. Side effects are generally mild.

Overall, L-glutamine is safe to use when taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Some of the digestive side effects you may experience are nausea, abdominal pain, headache, constipation, bloating, and heartburn. Other side effects you may experience include dizziness, chest pain, and back pain. 

If you experience any of these side effects, it is best to let your doctor know so that they can decide what is best to do regarding your medication dosage. You may want to avoid L-glutamine if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or Reye’s syndrome. 

If you are experiencing any signs of anaphylaxis such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hives, rash, or more you should seek emergency medical attention immediately. 

How Do You Take L-Glutamine?

L-glutamine can be taken in several forms including oral tablets and injections. Oral tablets and injections are the most common forms of L-glutamine that are used; however, they each have their pros and cons. 

For example, oral medications must go through the digestive system where much of the ingredients may be degraded. Therefore, your body is only able to utilize so much of the medication to make a difference. Alternatively, injections do not have to go through the digestive system and therefore have a lot more usable L-glutamine. 

Oral medications are easier to take since you simply swallow the pills or tablets with a liquid. Injections may be intimidating for those with a fear of needles, but the needle is usually very small and something that you learn to get used to over time. 

Intravenous injections are another option; however, they require a direct IV line, and should typically be monitored by a healthcare professional for the duration of the administration. 

The route is ultimately up to you and the healthcare provider to decide together based on what’s best for you. 

What Is the Most Common Dose of L-Glutamine?

The dose of L-glutamine supplementation you are prescribed truly depends on a wide variety of factors. The route is a big determining factor since you would have less medication by mouth than you could through an IV. 

For an oral capsule or an oral powder form, the dose per day is usually about 20 to 30 grams per day. Sometimes, this dose should be dissolved in 8 ounces of liquid before being consumed. It can be given on an empty stomach or with food. Certain supplement forms can be consumed in a mixture with yogurt or in smoothies. 

When you take it via an IV the daily dose is commonly 600 milligrams per kilogram per day. The IV dosing is based on weight which is usually more accurate than age or another system since there can be differences from person to person. 

Consult a healthcare provider for the appropriate dosing of L-glutamine for you.

Conclusion

L-glutamine works in the body in several amazing ways. L-glutamine simply supports the body in doing what it was meant to do such as building muscle and supporting the metabolism. 

While L-glutamine is not meant to cure or treat any disease, this supplement form may help support your gastrointestinal tract, boost your athletic performance, or offer immunity support. 

Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are currently taking to help determine whether L-glutamine is right for you. 

L-glutamine may not be for everyone, but Elite HRT can help to determine if it is and if not what you may be searching for. 

Get started with a medical consult today

Sources:

Your hormones | Pituitary.org

L-glutamine | Medline Plus

Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation | NCBI